Mid-South animal shelters changing protocols in response to ‘safer-at-home’ order

Mid-South animal shelters changing protocols in response to ‘safer-at-home’ order

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A lot of Mid-Southerners are taking home a furry friend during this safer-at-home order in Shelby County. While area animal shelters are still offering adoptions and fosters, protocols have changed.

Shelters across the Mid-South are figuring out their new normal. While they’re limiting the number of people coming in, there are hundreds of animals in shelters who rely on shelter employees to take care of them, and the public to see them so they can find a forever home.

A few weeks ago, as the threat of COVID-19 got closer to home fewer people started showing up to adopt and foster at Memphis Animal Services.

“We literally started dialing and saying, ‘Can you help? Can you help,’” MAS Executive Director Alexis Pugh said.

But as social distancing became adopted and a safer-at-home order was put into place, Shelby County shelters recommended residents consider fostering or adopting a pet to keep them company at home. Shelters saw a shift.

“Our numbers are all at historic lows because the community has stepped up and adopted pets, fostered pets to get through this shelter at home/quarantine period,” Pugh said.

While animal shelters are considered an essential business, most municipal shelters, including MAS, are only seeing potential fosters and adopters by appointment only. Shelters in Bartlett, Germantown and Collierville, as well as the Shelby County Memphis Human Society, are also taking that approach. And they’re only taking in animals who need immediate care.

“These foster homes are not only providing a tremendous service for West Memphis Animal Services, the benefits to these pets is just immeasurable,” Director of West Memphis Animal Services Kerry Facello said.

Across the river, Kerry Facello at West Memphis Animal Services has seen the community respond for the need for fostering and adopting during this time. However, a safer-at-home order is not in place in West Memphis or Arkansas, so the shelter is open to walk-ins.

Facello has seen a lot of people call before coming in which she appreciates.

“Everyone has been very courteous. If they want to come to the shelter they’ll call, and we can set up very lenient appointments,” Facello said.

You can call the shelter of your choice during business hours to set up an appointment to explore fostering or adopting an animal.

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